A Walk To Spinalonga - At The Top
At the top of the hill is another church - they can't get enough of them here. This one is fairly new by the look of it, and it commands great views across the bay. The stonework and particularly the woodwork on the doors are lovely, and there's a nice courtyard where you can take a rest and perhaps even a drink. Don't have your picnic here though, save it for the beach.
A Walk To Spinalonga - Windmills
I can't remember quite how many windmills there are here, 4 maybe 5. They stand by a bridge that straddles a canal which allows small(ish) boats to get to Elounda without having to go the long way around. The windmills are not open (i.e. you can't get inside) but they look nice enough and there's a display board telling a little about them.
A Walk To Spinalonga - The Start
You can walk from Elounda to Spinalonga. Not Spinalonga Island, where the abandoned fort & village are, but the promentory of Spinalonga that turns the bay at Elounda into a virtual lake. We "discovered" the walk by accident becaused we could see from the bus that there was some sort of causeway leading to who-knows-where at the far end of town.
To get to this part of town walk back down the main street towards Agias Nikolous until you reach the end of the shops/tavernas etc. (the bus will have come in this way - you could always get off it there if this is your intention). At that point turn left at a convenient point to hit the seashore. You should be able to see the road & causeway heading off at that point. It passes a hotel/apartment complex that would be on your right now (the sea is on your left).
Here's the beach. It's only small, a narrow strip of sand backed by a wall, but it's nice, it's quiet and the water here is superb. It's like swimming in your very own pool, crystal clear water and no tide or currents. There's no facilities (of course) so you need to bring water, a picnic and anything else that you need. It's not too far back to the Taverna by the canal (1/2 hour walk, maybe less) so you can stop for sustinence easily on your way back if you run out of stuff.
A Walk To Spinalonga - Descending
The end is in sight. After the church the track descends downwards towards the beach. You have to veer right or you'll continue on too far (the track does continue on seemingly for the length of the promentory). The beach will hopefully be deserted, or almost so, but there may be some excursion boats in. Don't worry - they don't stay long, 1/2 an hour or so and it will all be clear again.
A Walk To Spinalonga - Ascending
50 to 100 meters after the bridge the path splits. You can stay by the shore or cut right up and over a hill. This is what we want to do. I don't know where the shore track goes to, that's one for another day, but the track up and over leads to the secluded beach. We learned this by accident - it was just a 50/50 call and we decided to go up and over.
A Walk To Spinalonga - Early Christian Basilica
We eventually found the basilica, down a narrow track by a field full of goats. There's not a lot left save for the remnants of mosaic on the floor and a few stones. It's worth seeking out though, and it's surprising just what there is to see down this short stretch of walk. Saltpans, canal, windmills, church and basilica with mosaics so far, and we're not even at the pretty and isolated beach yet!
A Walk To Spinalonga - Seashore Church
From the bridge over the canal you can see this church in the distance by the sea. I went up to it, expecting it to be the early Christian basilica mentioned locally, but it's not. It's a nice church though, in a fantastic setting right by the sea. There's steps down to a little jetty, so I imagine people come here by boat. It would be a great setting for a wedding.
A Walk To Spinalonga - The Canal
Here's the bridge over the canal. Beside the canal is a small Taverna, good for a drink and a snack as there's nothing else on this walk. A display board nearby tells of a ancient Christian basilica and it's a nice little game to try and find it. At first we thought it was the quite obvious little white church that you can see, but no, that's not it.
A Walk To Spinalonga - Continuing
Soon the road becomes a proper causeway, the sea on both sides now. On the left is the bay with Elounda in the distance, on the right the bay with Ag. Nick way in the distance. On the right also is a set of ancient salt pans, though they are quite indistinct. In the distance on the causeway is a set of windmills, and that's where you're heading.
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